Updated: Jul 22, 2021
I was sorting through a box of discarded artworks and came across this old silk screen print. I remember getting cross that the stencil broke and slipped on the screen, making for imperfect registration. One of many unhappy mistakes of that time. Looking at it now though, it is the imperfection that I like - the half missing dogs and cut off tails; visual peculiarities that I would never be able to repeat. So why did I not see this before? It made me think about all the other pieces I’ve binned; blinded by a vision of perfection that actually doesn’t exist. Or at the very least, isn’t very appealing.
As designers we are highly self critical, obsessed with creating perfection - minimalism, simplification, call it what you will, we all have our own definition of what makes something perfect. But what we strive for is not necessarily what engages us most. Maybe that’s why we often prefer the work of others to our own. It is precisely the imperfection that makes a piece of design, art or music all the more creatively interesting; the idiosyncrasies that make them memorable. And I guess, more human.
So, back to the box of prints.
Printmakers have coined the phrase, “a happy mistake”, but as I’m learning, the real skill is knowing when they are happy.